Grizzlies Dominate Knights, 12-2, in Playoff Opener
Mariposa entered Wednesday afternoon’s CIF Sac-Joaquin Section, Division VI quarterfinal playoff game as the two seed overall with a record of 16-8; 13-1 in league. They faced off against the Buckingham Charter Knights who came into the playoffs as the seventh seed with a record of 6-1 overall; 5-5 in league. The Grizzlies would come out on top, 12-2, thanks to their tried-and-true offense, and some great defensive plays from the middle infield.
Mariposa’s senior pitcher, Lucas Leonard, once again was on the bump for the Grizzlies to start the game. He faced a case of the playoff jitters in the first inning as he allowed a leadoff single to the Knight’s Brayden Janecki. The next batter was awarded a free base after several of Leonard’s pitches missed the strike zone dramatically.
Fortunately for the Grizzlies, the duo of Andres Ibarra and Landon Robinson in the middle infield turned two on a grounder to the second baseman Ibarra, although the runner at second base was able to come around to score at the plate while the double play was being made. Now down by one, it was clear that the Grizzlies wouldn’t be able to rely on a strikeout to get out of the inning. Leonard tossed a change-up to the next batter and a line drive was hit hard and straight into the glove of the shortstop Robinson to end the top of the first.
Ibarra was due to lead off in his team’s half of the inning and his patience at the plate was rewarded with a walk of his own. Ibarra quickly got to work on the bases, doing what he does best, reading the missed pickoff attempt at first and racing all the way around second and onto third. With two stolen bases in his back pocket, Ibarra had his sights set on home plate to tie the game. The batter, Robinson, smacked a ground ball to third base so hard that the ball ricocheted off the glove of the Knight’s third baseman, allowing Ibarra to make it home easily.
With the score now 1-1, Jake Ogilby came up to bat with an RBI in his future. He slapped a fastball past the infield and into the outfield grass where the Knight’s left fielder had trouble gathering up the ball, allowing Robinson to score and Ogilby to reach third. Leonard came to plate next and put the ball in play so Ogilby could score from third, plating the last run of the inning for the Grizzlies. The lead belonged to Mariposa heading into the second inning, 3-1.
During his team’s offensive push, Leonard was able to collect himself and deliver two back-to-back strikeouts in the second. The next batter reached first on a walk, but he couldn’t stay on the basepaths for long as his attempt to steal second was squashed by the Grizzlies’ catcher Hunter Johnson.
A triple down the third base line from freshman Lucas Ibarra was how the Grizzlies started their five-run second inning offensive. The biggest hit of the inning came with no surprise from long-ball launcher Ogilby. His homer brought in three runs for the Grizzlies, making the score 6-1. The Knight’s just couldn’t stop the bleeding after Ogilby’s smash, with Leonard coming up and rattling a double off the center field fence. He would come around to score on a single from first baseman Cole Atkins and after a few walks loaded the bases, the Knights walked in a run, giving Mariposa an 8-1 advantage.
Mariposa’s defense kept its streak up in the third with a gem of a play from second baseman Andres Ibarra, as he leaped up to snag a hard hit line drive way above his head. Followed by Robinson making a sprint into shallow center to catch a trailing fly ball, and another strikeout for Leonard. In their half of the inning, the Grizzlies added on two more runs furthering their advantage over the Knights, 10-1.
The Knights were able to add on just one more run in the top of the fourth after Leonard walked in a run with the bases loaded. Leonard made up for it by ending the inning with a strikeout followed by a nice play at the plate out.
The Grizzlies walked it off in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run double from Atkins, putting the mercy rule into effect and closing out the contest with a 12-2 section playoff victory.
Moving on into the semifinals, Mariposa will face off against Argonaut on Monday. Follow MariposaToday for more details and ticket information.